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Still No Response from Daniel Barenblatt

February 22nd, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

On February 19, Dan  Barenblatt, author of “A Plague Upon Humanity,” left a message on Occidentalism promising to answer questions about his comments and actions at an April 16th press conference given by Yoko Kawashima Watkins, the author of “So Far from the Bamboo Grove.” South Korean media reports have quoted Mr. Barenblatt as saying the following about Ms. Watkins and her book:

  • “The book is a lie from the cover and the first sentence.”
  • “You can tell by just looking at Ms. Yoko’s face that she is lying.”
  • “…’So Far from the Bamboo Grove is not based on fact, and is full of fabrication and misinterpreted history.”
  • “The biggest problem with the book is that it depicts the oppressed as the oppressor and the victim as the assailant.”
  • “At first I was impertinent, but I was impressed with the parents’ sincerity and their detailed explanation, so I stepped forward to examine their suspicions of the novel because their claims were true.”
  • “When I heard Ms. Yoko say that Korean students all understand the book, I could not control my rage.”
  • “It is ridiculous to say that Korean students understand a book that, to anyone, obviously depicts Koreans as being the villain.”

Mr. Barenblatt has denied some of the quotes, and has been vague or unresponsive on others. You can read Mr. Barenblatt’s responses here and here. When asked to clarify his position by answering further questions by posters on this blog, Mr. Barenblatt left the following message on February 19th:

To shadkt and ponta:

You claimed that I wasn’t answering your questions but you never said what those questions were. What are your questions? Just ask them here and I will respond them here, and then let’s call it a day.

Link to a post on a Yonhap News Report

Link to a post on a JoongAng Ilbo Report

Today is February 23, and there is still no response from Mr. Barenblatt.

Personally, I offered to give Mr. Barenblatt space on this blog to defend himself if he would answer the following questions:

  • What was the list of “serious factual errors” that you handed out at the press conference?
  • What was the “serious factual error” on the cover of the book?
  • Did you say, “The book is a lie from the cover and the first sentence? If not, how did you phrase it? Do you believe Ms. Watkins’ book “is a lie”?
  • Did you say, “You can tell by just looking at Ms. Yoko’s face that she is lying”? If not, did you say something similar? Do you believe that Ms. Watkins was lying at the press conference?
  • Are you being paid for your efforts to find out if Ms. Watkin’s father was a part of Unit 731?
  • Why would you suspect Ms. Watkin’s father? Don’t you have a list of the names of the Japanese who were accused of being a part of that unit? By the way, were any Koreans a part of that unit?
  • Are you denying that Japanese women were raped in North Korea after the surrender? If you are not denying that, then are you denying that Ms. Watkins saw Japanese women being raped?
  • Did you say, “The biggest problem with the book is that it depicts the oppressed as the oppressor, the victim as the assailant”? If not, how did you phrase it? If you did say that, why do you believe the roles could not have been reversed after Japan’s surrender?
  • Ms. Watkins’ book was about her experiences as an 11-year-old girl at the end of World War II, so why should she talk about Korean victims if she did not see any? By the way, in your book on Unit 731, did you talk about any of the atrocities committed against the Japanese by the Chinese?
  • In your explanation of why the first sentence in Ms. Watkin’s book had a “serious factual error,” you referred to Page 21 of her book. Instead of a partial quote, can you give us the full quote on the page that makes you say that the first sentence in her book had a “serious factual error”? Also, do you really think that the date her family left their house is a “serious factual error”? Just curious, but how is your memory of your eleventh year of life?

I realize that my questions may be somewhat confrontational, but if the quotes in the Korean newspapers are true or even partially true, then I think Mr. Barenblatt is unfairly judging Ms. Watkins and her book and should be made to justify his comments.

Also, Shadkt and Ponta, would you please give me a list of questions you would like to see Mr. Barenblatt answer. I will post them here, in case Mr. Barenblatt did not see them among all the other comments.

Finally, Mr. Barenblatt has claimed that he was misquoted or misrepresented by two different Korean media sources. Now I would like to get Mr. Barenblatt’s response to the following February 16 YTN article, another Korean media source, which I have translated below:

“‘So Far from the Bamboo Grove’ is all true”

Ms. Yoko Kawashima Watkins, author of “So Far from the Bamboo Grove,” has received criticism for repeating her claim that the content of her book is all true. Her book has provoked claims of history distortion by depicting Koreans as assailants at the end of the Japanese Empire.

Ms. Yoko held a press conference in Boston, where she said that it is all true except for the date her brother fled Cheongjin, the name of the Korean who helped him, and the misstated date of the Nagasaki nuclear bombing.

Ms. Yoko, however, was unable to provide evidence of the activities of her father, who is suspected of being an executive member of Unit 731. She also admitted an error concerning the dates of her mother’s and grandmother’s deaths, which are different from that in the novel.

However, Daniel Barenblatt, who is an expert researcher of Unit 731 and who also attended the press conference, said the book is a lie from the cover and first sentence. He also said he got angry when Ms. Yoko said that Korean students all understood the book.

Link to the YTN article

By the way, here is a link to a YTN video talking about plans by a group of Korean-Americans to sue Ms. Watkins over the content of her book.

Link to the Video


38 Responses to “Still No Response from Daniel Barenblatt”

  1. comment number 1 by: jion999

    wow. Mr. Gerry-Bevers. You are a great jounalist.

  2. comment number 2 by: PeterPan

    There’s a group of people that want to sue her over the book? Wouldn’t that open the door to people suing authors like Iris Chang as well for her inaccuracies in “The Rape of Nanking”? Neither author are historians, and both books are plagued with errors. I’m pretty sure that won’t go very far an any country other than S. Korea–a country where professors can get fired for disagreeing with the masses–freedom of speech would protect such a book; however it would not protect the school(s) who used it and they would do better to go after them.

  3. comment number 3 by: ponta

    I am not sure what is preventing Mr. Daniel Barenblatt from responding.
    And I am not sure why it was difficult to find my quesion. It was written in comment 1 and they were repeated several times.

    ttp://www.occidentalism.org/?p=500#comment-13733
    ttp://www.occidentalism.org/?p=500#comment-13807
    ttp://www.occidentalism.org/?p=500#comment-13933
    (James repeated my questions which he emphasized by “strong” tag )
    ttp://www.occidentalism.org/?p=500#comment-13977
    ( I have added another question here)

    All I want Daniel Barenblatt to do is to keep
    his promise and fulfill what he declared to demand.

    What are your questions? Just ask them here and I will respond them here, and then let’s call it a day.

    ttp://www.occidentalism.org/?p=500#comment-13915

    I am calling for an immediate retraction and correction from whoever is responsible, whether it be Yonhap or the http://www.occidentalism.org website. The responsible party also owes an apology to myself, to Ms. Yoko Kawashima Watkins, to the Korean people, the Japanese people, and anyone else involved, and to the reading public in general.

    ttp://www.occidentalism.org/?p=499#comment-13677

    I still believe in Daniel Barenblatt’s sincerity and integrity.
    I hope Daniel Barenblatt will restore Ms Watkins reputation and apologize to her that he (unintentionally?) played an important role to degrade her book, her father, herself by taking up the offensive topic which is completely irrelevant to her book when he was asked to evaluate her book. The best way to do it, I think, is to make the newspaper publish apology so that the readership knows the articles were fabrication as Daniel Barenblatt claims,(after all isn’t that what
    Daniel Barenblatt was planning to do at first?) besides his publicizing his apology to Ms Watkins.

  4. comment number 4 by: crypticlife

    In fairness, four days isn’t all that long to answer an extended series of questions, particularly when the topic is controversial.

  5. comment number 5 by: ponta

    both books are plagued with errors

    I think it is a little hasty to conclude her book is “plagued with errors” when author just admit a few mistakes, that is not essential to the message she wanted to convey anyway.

  6. comment number 6 by: chul_soo

    I think Mr. Barenblatt is busy celebrating Takeshima day!
    I agree with crypticlife, we should give him more time. Mr. Barenblatt claimed that he was misquoted by the newspaper and by this site. I am sure he is planning his answer carefully so that his answer or comment wont be easily misquoted again. Also we must keep in mind that gerry asked many questions that cant be answer in a single sentence.

  7. comment number 7 by: randomcow

    I disagree. I don’t believe that Mr Barenblatt has to reply to any questions posted here. Poor bugger didn’t even know this site existed until the other day, and now he’s got half the Internet turning against him.

    Anyone know what the Korean-language blogsphere is saying about this issue?

    RC

  8. comment number 8 by: ponta

    I don’t think Gerry’s questions, and my question
    need much time to answer;They presuppose no new research, they only presuppose what he had researched and what he remember.
    But yes, I am still waiting for Mr Daniel Barenblatt

  9. comment number 9 by: Dan Barenblatt

    crypticlife said:
    In fairness, four days isn’t all that long to answer an extended series of questions, particularly when the topic is controversial.

    Posted on 22-Feb-07 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Excellent point, crypticlife. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, Gerry-Bevers, I have not been posting here daily, or even every other day on average; more like once every few days. Everyone knows and can see this, so cut out the “Still No Response” nonsense because you’re just making yourself and this website look (more) foolish by trying to tar me with an obviously false and irrelevant straw man complaint. Really looks like you’re grasping at a thin reed indeed, make that no reed at all. That goes for you too, “what keeps him from responding,” ponta. And believe it or not, I have other things to do with my time.

    So I’m making sure to copy and save the front page pieces and all comments, so there can be a record of this and any further patently absurd, hostility-laced, false remarks directed at me or anyone else.

    randomcow said:
    I disagree. I don’t believe that Mr Barenblatt has to reply to any questions posted here. Poor bugger didn’t even know this site existed until the other day, and now he’s got half the Internet turning against him.

    Anyone know what the Korean-language blogsphere is saying about this issue?

    RC

    randomcow, what do you mean “half the internet turning against him”? I haven’t seen any hostile or attacking comments on the web apart from this website. Are you referring to some Japanese language sites that you’ve seen?

    randomcow: You wrote in another comment roll (comment #52 to “Is Korean Media Misquoting …”) — “A mere two days after the original post and already a search for “Dan Barenblatt” brings up Occidentalism on the first page. Let’s hope for the sake of Dan’s academic career that his mentors … ”

    Yes folks, a pattern emerges: It seems that randomcow is pushing a line of snide, bullying remarks about me in relation to the internet, trying to create false, negative impressions. You’re going to have to be more subtle with the words, randomcow, because all it’s doing is reflecting badly back upon youself, as any intelligent reader can see through this dishonesty to recognize what you’re actually trying to do.

    So, with that much out of the way, I’m going to post another comment to respond to the questions barrage in the above piece, and it should be a long post, to go through so much stuff; I’m going to write the completed response on a word document and have it pasted up here probably within a few hours.

    jion999 said:
    wow. Mr. Gerry-Bevers. You are a great jounalist.

    Posted on 22-Feb-07 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Eh, well, even a less-than-great “jounalist” would wait quite a while longer than four days before she or he would write and post such a “Still No Response” theme piece.

  10. comment number 10 by: Matt

    Hello Mr Barenblatt, thank you for returning.

    If I may, I would like to direct you to the questions in the main post by Gerry. I would also like to add a question of my own –

    *Did you receive any monetary remuneration, transportation or accomodation expenses from the Korean-American parents group or other groups or organisations to attend the press conference?

    I am looking forward to your response.

  11. comment number 11 by: ponta

    Mr.Daniel Barenblatt
    Thank you, Mr. Daniel Barenblatt for returning.
    Please make sure you will resopond my questions listed on the comment 3 which you said you were going to answer. And Note that Matt on comment 10 added the question.

    That goes for you too, “what keeps him from responding,” ponta. And believe it or not, I have other things to do with my time.

    It took just one day from the day the first post about you was published to declear to call for the aplogy from whoever resoponsbile
    ttp://www.occidentalism.org/?p=499
    ttp://www.occidentalism.org/?p=499#comment-13676
    “How come has it been taking so much time?”
    was reason I made a comment above.

    I haven’t seen any hostile or attacking comments on the web apart from this website

    I am not so sure, Mr. Daniel Barenblatt….. It really depends on your response.

    Anyway I believe in your sincerity and integrity.
    Thank you.

  12. comment number 12 by: ponta

    Still No Response” nonsense because you’re just making yourself and this website look (more) foolish by trying to tar me with an obviously false and irrelevant straw man complaint.

    Now this “more” presuppose this website look foolish. Whatever your intentin, Mr. Daniel Barenblatt, keep in mind this kind of your statement is what caused the misunderstanding about Ms Watkins.

  13. comment number 13 by: opp

    Mr.Daniel Barenblatt,
    Cannot you have done this verification yet?

    February 17, 2007
    In any case, this is a weird set of false quotations, and I am calling for an immediate retraction and correction from whoever is responsible, whether it be Yonhap or the http://www.occidentalism.org website.

    Apologize to occidentarism and Gerry when your verification ends.

  14. comment number 14 by: nighthawk

    Mr Barenblatt wrote: You’re going to have to be more subtle with the words, randomcow, because all it’s doing is reflecting badly back upon youself, as any intelligent reader can see through this dishonesty to recognize what you’re actually trying to do.

    Mr. Barenblatt, that’s exactly what I’d like to tell YOU when I read your blog and your comments to this site. I’m looking forward to see your subtlety with words when you are finally answering the questions asked here, but I expect you to answer them clearly nonetheless.

  15. comment number 15 by: kteen

    Mr. Dan, that’s what almost everyone is doing here. Degrading Korea with false ‘proofs’ and rootless words.

  16. comment number 16 by: ponta

    Kteen
    Did you misspell? Was it supposed to be

    Mr. Dan, that’s what almost everyone is doing in Korea. Degrading Japan and Japanese with false ‘proofs’ and rootless words.

    Even if that is what you wanted to say, I think “almost all” is an exaggeration. No?
    But in case of Ms Watkins, it might be true for almost all ultra-Korean nationalists, including two Korean media.
    BTW I think it is Daniel Barenblatt who is most aware of the way Korean media fabricates for the fake patriorism. No?

  17. comment number 17 by: kteen

    Ponta,
    Don’t be such an ass(no offence)…
    A lot of Koreans do hate japan, but a bigger majority think exactly the opposite way. It is true that Koreans flare up whenever history is brought up, but haven’t you thought of the reason why they do so?
    The japanese government is denying unfortunate, horrible events that happened in the last century. Do you think we would be acting this ultra-nationalistic way if the japanese government gives a full, formal apology?

  18. comment number 18 by: ponta

    It is true that Koreans flare up whenever history is brought up, but haven’t you thought of the reason why they do so?

    Because of the social practice such as the education and media that tell false picture of the colonization and the present Japan?

    The Japanese government is denying unfortunate, horrible events that happened in the last century.

    Japanese government made formal apologies several times. And expressing apologies presupposes she admitted she had done wrong to Korea. It is Korea who does not want to admitted Japan apologized….no other colonizers apologized nor did they compensated…..probably because she wants to keep hating?
    I think it is Korea’s turn to face the history, It was a Korean official who suggested the annexation to Japan, and the largest Korean political party supported it. There was more than 300000 Korean young men who voluntarily applied for Japanese military when Tojo, A-criminal, was a prime minister. There were a large number of Korean business men who made use of the system under Japanese rule. Many Koreans who directly experience the colonization characterize the colonization as “Nothing much happened to me”.
    I think the earlier Koreans realize this irrational hatred culture of Japan probably started after Ryee, who was anti-Japan-ism, under whom a large number of Korean civilians, much more than those killed under Japanese rule, were killed, started this trends, the better.

  19. comment number 19 by: ponta

    Daniel Barenblatt, you might want to know how the kind of thing that happened to Ms Watkins takes places so easily by some Koreans, it is happening right here and right
    now

  20. comment number 20 by: nighthawk

    kteen said:
    The japanese government is denying unfortunate, horrible events that happened in the last century. Do you think we would be acting this ultra-nationalistic way if the japanese government gives a full, formal apology?

    kteen, you are degrading Japan here, with no proofs and rootless words 🙂 Have you ever thought of the possibility that you are misinformed about Japan’s past and present? (I have, in case you’d like to ask me the same.) You do not have the same information as those who have studied history on their own a bit, outside secondary school education.

    Many Koreans will hate Japan no matter what the Japanese government says or does. So long as Korean government, education, and media teach them about Japan-Korea history the way they do now, they will hate Japan. Why not? It takes an inordinate level of intelligence and courage for a Korean in Korea to see through the lies that have been told since the day s/he was born.

  21. comment number 21 by: Dan Barenblatt

    Okay, this is probably going to be my last post on this website. Since I began posting here, people have warned me not to have anything to do with this “trash” site due to its bigoted, dishonest and disreputable nature, e.g. its ultra-creepy, repeated denial/downplaying of comfort women being sex slaves of Imperial Japan (vs.the claims here of comfort women being just “regular prostitutes” and sold into it by other Koreans), and its denial/downplaying of other war crimes of Imperial Japan such as Unit 731, the Nanking Massacre etc. And also of course, its obvious and peculiar continual Korean-bashing, a kind of niche-hatred specialty that is played up here, amongst the more general attacks and ridiculing of non-white immigrants that are to be found with a quick look about.

    This is not a site with which one would want to be associated: not me, nor the Korean news outlets, nor Ms. Yoko Watkins; nor anyone who wishes to avoid the offensive, ethnically prejudiced and politically wacked-out. And I apologize to all Korean people, Japanese people, Chinese people, Americans, Australians, British etc. for perhaps my giving the impression of giving this site any credence or credibility by posting anything here. Please understand that I only came here in the first place because it had the only English translation of a South Korean news article in which I was misquoted to an extreme degree, and I had evaluate things so as to request corrections and straighten the matter out. And then to compare this site’s translation with other translations that I could obtain. And needless to say, the web authors, and the usual nest of anti-Korean comment roll posters here, have been rude and venomous to me from the get-go, and continuing on that way throughout (see other comment rolls or their comments to follow below after this post).

    This site also posted the web’s only English translation of another, second Korean language article in which I was again misquoted, with fabricated quotes, and misrepresented. So I had to look into this as well and issue another call for corrections from the Korean news outlet responsible. And one good lesson from this is that the old Tower of Babel problem is still so much with us; that we should have translations of news sources more readily available, between whatever languages, so that the persons quoted can check for accuracy in a timely manner, and ideally be able to do this by going to websites that are both reputable and objective.

    The poster wjk wrote, in another comment roll:
    “Mr. Dan Barenblatt, don’t you think you have a right to know who Matt of Occidentalism is?You should know that he is selective in what he considers the “truth”.
    I think you have a right to know, since he or Bevers posts your picture, and causes you all this trouble under the guise of “protecting your reputation.”

    —Yes, wjk, I know, and I thank you for your concern. But I think that most every thinking person can see through to what their agenda is and what they’re trying to do; their writing speaks (snarls) for itself.

    Thanks also to kteen above, in this comment roll, for helping to keep some sanity and reality going.

    wjk continued: “You should also be aware that for an Australian, Matt clearly uses the word “nigger” a lot. Matt opposes immigration in Australia or doesn’t approve it quite strongly, and says “What happened to our great nation Australia?”, regarding immigration, and has a lot of jokes and guards against Muslims in Australia. Bevers. Bevers uses the Chosun shilok to claim that King Sae Jong taught the Japanese on the concept and uses of Comfort women”

    —Yes that is disgusting, and looking at the link provided and his comment response in that thread, it seems that he does in fact suggest that. And I’ll also check what you said that Matt said about “nigger” ; the anti-Muslim jokes I’ve already seen here while looking around.

    wjk also wrote:
    “you should ask Matt for his real name”

    —Okay. Matt, what is your real name? You know my real name. A whois lookup on this site shows that it was registered in Sydney, Australia, w/ both registrant and admin name as “Hagbard Celine” —the name of a fictional character in the series of three conspiracy novels, “The Illuminatus! Trilogy” by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. More on this below, after my responses to their question barrage.

    wjk continued, in another comment:”by the way, Matt and Bevers believe that all Comfort Women were prostitutes. and, eventually their goal is to debate through and debunk your books. Here.” And in a later comment, wjk wrote: “why do you ban my comments? Cowards. Just like I predicted, this discussion went towards questioning Mr. DB’s professional work”

    —Well wjk, you were right of course. That’s plainly where it went, and what they were, and are, trying to do. But take heart, because as I said, this site has discredited itself so many times over; the public knows what they’re about.

    Gerry-Bevers wrote, on the front page piece above: “Mr. Barenblatt has denied some of the quotes, and has been vague or unresponsive on others. ”

    —That’s false, Gerry-Bevers, I haven’t been “vague or unresponsive” and no here asked, nor is there any particular need to, parse through every sentence of either article on this hostile and offensively biased website. In case you didn’t understand, or are pretending not to understand, I’ll go through each of the above:

    “You can tell by just looking at Ms. Yoko’s face that she is lying.”
    —As I’ve already said here early on, I did not say that and don’t think that.

    “…’So Far from the Bamboo Grove is not based on fact, and is full of fabrication and misinterpreted history.”
    —No, I did not say that. Incidentally I was never formally interviewed by either reporter. And I only know for certain that I spoke to one of the reporters, and during the course of the conversation he did not make it clear that he was going to present any quotations of mine in an article. In fact, at the time, I did not know that he was a reporter.

    “The biggest problem with the book is that it depicts the oppressed as the oppressor and the victim as the assailant.”
    —You have now changed the wording of this from your original translation as it appeared on the front page of this website, “The Biggest Error in So Far From the Bamboo Grove is that it switches the victim and the assailant,” to your new version of this sentence, above.
    And as I’ve already said here, I did not say that, in any version. Again it’s a made-up quote. But as I’ve said here and elsewhere, I do think that one of the book’s main problems is that it gives the reader a false historical impression, reversing the historical roles of oppressed and oppressed, colonizer and colonized.

    “At first I was impertinent, but I was impressed with the parents’ sincerity and their detailed explanation, so I stepped forward to examine their suspicions of the novel because their claims were true.”

    –Again, As I’ve already said in a previous comment roll, I did not say the above quote. Another made-up quote.

    “When I heard Ms. Yoko say that Korean students all understand the book, I could not control my rage.”

    —Again, see my previous comment post(s): I did not say this and it is not true.

    HEY: just a brief intermission here, Gerry-Bevers —you wouldn’t by any chance be redundantly re-posting all these already-responded-to quotes on the front page in a transparent and futile attempt to make both me, and what you/others here refer to as the “Korean Media” look as bad as you can make it, would you? With the barrage of front page charged, negative words? Nah you wouldn’t do such a low-down thing, right?

    “It is ridiculous to say that Korean students understand a book that, to anyone, obviously depicts Koreans as being the villain.”
    —And yet once again, I did not say this made-up quote, see my previous comment Gerry-Bevers.

    Gerry-Bevers also wrote:
    “Personally, I offered to give Mr. Barenblatt space on this blog to defend himself if he would answer the following questions:”

    —What do you mean “defend himself”? There’s nothing here that in reality needs “defending.”

    What was the list of “serious factual errors” that you handed out at the press conference?
    —The reader should note that you repeat this phrase “serious factual error(s)” four more times in your litany below. As if by such repetition you hope to make the fact of errors in the book seem ridiculous. But this repetition thing just makes yourself look more grasping and unpleasant, Gerry-Bevers, not advisable for you to try in future writings. Those falsehoods stated in that written piece, handed to some people in attendance, were those that I’ve already brought up here: the dates are way off, i.e. the series of events that occur on the July 29-August 9 timeline is all off b/c the Russians did not even invade Manchuria in the first surprise attack until August 9, and not first enter Korea until August 12; and there was no such group as the “Korean Communist Army” nor any such armed Communist/partisan Korean organization operating within Korea in the time frame established in the book. In the book (have you read it?) this “Army” is a major story element; this “Korean Communist Army” group mercilessly hunts down and tries to kill Japanese people.

    You’ve mentioned the bamboo-growing-in-northern Korea topic a number of times and suggested, wrongly and without any evidence, that I may have been referring to that as an error, another false insinuation. In fact I have not mentioned this as one of the errors.

    What was the “serious factual error” on the cover of the book?
    —On the cover illustration: The trio of greenish-faced Korean soldiers standing menacingly with guns, as if one is about to machine-gun the main characters of the book, Yoko and her family members. This band is what is referred to in the text as the “Korean Communist Army.” See above comment for this group not actually having existed, nor any like that. And also, it occurs to me, Koreans are not green. So make that two serious errors.

    Did you say, “The book is a lie from the cover and the first sentence?”

    —No. “If not, how did you phrase it?” —No “phrasing” b/c I was never formally interviewed with Q & A.What I did say verbally to some people, and in writing, is that the first sentence of the book, which has a July 29, 1945 date for the when “the Russians have landed” in Korea, is false. Which of course it is. “Do you believe Ms. Watkins’ book “is a lie”? —That’s a very poorly put question. What does it mean to say an entire book “is a lie”? Clearly though, there are serious inaccuracies and a false overall impression of the historical/political/social context given to readers of this key period in the history of Korea and WWII.

    “In your explanation of why the first sentence in Ms. Watkin’s book had a “serious factual error,” you referred to Page 21 of her book. Instead of a partial quote, can you give us the full quote on the page that makes you say that the first sentence in her book had a “serious factual error”? Also, do you really think that the date her family left their house is a “serious factual error”?
    —I already covered this in a comment in the “Is Korean Media Misquoting …” piece comment roll. The July 29 date of them beginning to flee, stated on page one, in the 1st sentence, is , the reader learns on page 21, because “the Russians have landed” in Korea, for the first time, on that day, as the Soviet Union is beginning to invade. I’ve already stated this here. See the above paragraph and previous comments for the obvious historical importance and contextual importance of the timeline. This includes such key events happening within a two week period as the surprise start of the Soviet/Mongolian attack against Japan (Aug 9), the first Soviet entry into Korea (Aug 12), the atomic bombing of Hiroshima (Aug 6), the Emperor’s surrender announcement (Aug 15) etc.

    Just curious, but how is your memory of your eleventh year of life?
    —Hmm yeah, inquisitor-wannabe Gerry-Bevers, I think your motive here is in truth something than “just curious.” Another question asked in bad faith?

    —Did you say, “You can tell by just by looking at Ms. Yoko’s face that she is lying”?” If not, did you say something similar?” I did not say that you can tell just by her face she is lying, or other words to that effect, or agree with it. I’ve already stated here, in fact, that it’s a made-up misquote. “Do you believe that Ms. Watkins was lying at the press conference? Obviously no one knows, not myself or anyone whether she or any other person is lying until her statements can be fact-checked for any apparent discrepancies, which hasn’t been done yet, so no, I wouldn’t and don’t have such a “belief” as whether she is “lying” or “not lying” until the facts come in..

    The following thinly and shabbily disguised “questions,” that were put forth in that list on the front page by Gerry-Bevers/shadkt/ponta, fall into the category of clear attempts at personal smears and/or “loaded question”-type propaganda attacks, and are responded to accordingly:

    “Are you being paid for your efforts to find out if Ms. Watkin’s father was a part of Unit 731?”
    —Gerry-Bevers, did you change that? Anonymous “Ponta” originally phrased this as: “Did you receive money in relation to this from Korean people?” So you dropped the KOREAN PEOPLE part. Now why did you do that, the alert reader may wonder …

    “Why would you suspect Ms. Watkin’s father? Don’t you have a list of the names of the Japanese who were accused of being a part of that unit? By the way, were any Koreans a part of that unit? ”
    —If you’re referring to him having another identity, that of a war criminal, that suspicion was around for a while before it came to my attention.

    “Are you denying that Japanese women were raped in North Korea after the surrender? –No, I never said or thought that, of course. “If you are not denying that, then are you denying that Ms. Watkins saw Japanese women being raped? ” I do not ” deny” that or for that matter anything that she has said, unless she herself states that it was fictitious, or it has been concretely proven to be otherwise, and this does not fall into either of those categories (unlike say, the July 29 date issue). Here, Gerry-Bevers appears to be trying to use (awkwardly) the old lawyer/ lawyer-wannabe trick of false insinuation by simply repeating a charged word such as rape in order to simply plant negative associations in people’s minds, with the person being questioned. Really disgusting, especially when he should already know the answer.

    —Did you say, “The biggest problem with the book is that it depicts the oppressed as the oppressor, the victim as the assailant”? If not, how did you phrase it?
    –Again? See my comments above on this. How many times do I have to repeat …
    ” If you did say that, why do you believe the roles could not have been reversed after Japan’s surrender? ” Now, I never said that did I? Hmm Gerry-Bevers, what are you trying to draw me into here?

    “Ms. Watkins’ book was about her experiences as an 11-year-old girl at the end of World War II, so why should she talk about Korean victims if she did not see any?” The book is described as “semi-fictional autobiography.” And how would you define “Korean victims” ?—“By the way, in your book on Unit 731, did you talk about any of the atrocities committed against the Japanese by the Chinese? ” —There’s one correct response to this: And to which such atrocities, against the Japanese by the Chinese, are your referring, Gerry-Bevers?

    “I realize that my questions may be somewhat confrontational, ”

    —Another false statement by you, Gerry-Bevers: anyone can see they’re more than “somewhat” confrontational. In fact, you clearly come across as if you’re bitterly trying to entrap me in something or other (which isn’t even possible) within the false propaganda framework of your own set of angry prejudices.

    “Also, Shadkt and Ponta, would you please give me a list of questions you would like to see Mr. Barenblatt answer. I will post them here, in case Mr. Barenblatt did not see them among all the other comments.” —Then they had better be included in the above questions, and I think they are. Because that repetitive, grasping at straws, nit-pick litany is now over.

    A few other things: Gerry-Bevers, word to the wise: your front page piece with the map of Korea and an arrow pointing to “Cheongjin” states that So Far from the Bamboo Grove says that Ms. Yoko Kawashima Watkins lived in Cheongjin in 1945. That’s wrong. The book says that she lived in Nanam. Please correct.

    Also, in the front page “Is Korean Media …” piece, Gerry-Bevers wrote:

    “By the way, the Joongang Ilbo did not misspell “impertinent.” That was my “serious factual error,” which I have corrected in my translation.”

    I did not say that JoongAng Ilbo misspelled “impertinent,” it’s false to imply that I attributed it to them or that I would think it a serious factual error, which as I said before, a reader might think that I meant if s/he takes that remark at face value.

    ———————-

    Now back again to wjk’s question — wjk wrote:
    “you should ask Matt for his real name”

    whois lookup on http://www.occidentalism.org gives us:

    Domain ID:D106647763-LROR
    Domain Name:OCCIDENTALISM.ORG
    Created On:17-Jun-2005 08:18:46 UTC
    Last Updated On:22-May-2006 01:03:41 UTC
    Expiration Date:17-Jun-2007 08:18:46 UTC
    Sponsoring Registrar:Tucows Inc. (R11-LROR)
    Status:OK
    Registrant ID:tu7GmQPNp4UqivGw
    Registrant Name:Hagbard Celine
    Registrant Organization:Erisian Liberation Front
    Registrant Street1:Yellow Submarine
    Registrant Street2:
    Registrant Street3:
    Registrant City:Sydney
    Registrant State/Province:NSW
    Registrant Postal Code:2000
    Registrant Country:AU
    Registrant Phone:+1.61425348244
    Registrant Phone Ext.:
    Registrant FAX:+1.6193899090
    Registrant FAX Ext.:
    Registrant Email:matt@ishokenmei.com
    Admin ID:tuUCdQ5Q8u4q7IsA
    Admin Name:Hagbard Celine
    Admin Organization:Erisian Liberation Front
    Admin Street1:Yellow Submarine
    Admin Street2:
    Admin Street3:
    Admin City:Sydney
    Admin State/Province:NSW
    Admin Postal Code:2000
    Admin Country:AU
    Admin Phone:+1.61425348244
    Admin Phone Ext.:
    Admin FAX:+1.61293899090
    Admin FAX Ext.:
    Admin Email:matt@ishokenmei.com
    Tech ID:tufsJH2JnV4GwZAC
    Tech Name:Powweb Admin
    Tech Organization:PowWeb, Inc.
    Tech Street1:2168 S. Atlantic Blvd.
    Tech Street2:#232
    Tech Street3:
    Tech City:Monterey Park
    Tech State/Province:CA

    Identities of registrant and admin are hidden with the fake name Hagbard Celine, the fictional character of The Illuminatus! Trilogy, who in those conspiracy novels captains the “Yellow Submarine” that is used above to replace actual street names in this website’s originating city of Sydney, Australia. In Shea and Wilson’s Illuminatus! trilogy, the character’s name first name “Hagbard” comes from the Viking hero named Hagbard, and “Celine” is taken from Louis-Ferdinand Celine, real name Louis-Ferdinand Destouches, the prominent French author, fascist and anti-Semite.

    There’s also this from wikipedia:

    Karl Werner Lothar Koch (born July 22, 1965 in Hanover, died – probably – May 23, 1989) was a German hacker in the 1980s, who called himself “hagbard”, after Hagbard Celine. He was involved in a Cold War computer espionage incident.
    As his moniker would suggest, he was heavily influenced by The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea.

    “Erisian Liberation Front” —another reference to the Illuminatus! novels, and their characters’ “Discordian” sect, which also exists in real life. Eris is the ancient Greek goddess of discord, the opposite of harmony. Used above in place of the name of a verifiable organization.

  22. comment number 22 by: wiesunja

    Do you think we would be acting this ultra-nationalistic way if the japanese government gives a full, formal apology?

    Is this a rhetorical question? Of course, the anwer is yes. Regardless of whether or not Japan’s apologies up until now (and don’t deny or go into Korean lie mode..Japan has issued apologies, and it is an established fact) are acceptable to Koreans, Koreans would feel miserable and empty if they were denied the permission to hate Japan.

    You see, this “ultra-nationalistic” nonsense has less to do with justice and atonement but more to do with REVENGE.

    Koreans really would not give two flips even if the Japanese government issues each comfort woman voice with a million US dollars in atonement money or if the emperor would get down on his knees on Korean TV and ask for an apology. As long as Japan’s GDP outscales Korea’s by a factor of 10, as long as Japan receives a more international acclaim in technology, business, the arts, cuisine, pop-culture, etc….Korean jealousy and feelings of inferiority would continue to fuel their hatred of Japan forever.

    However, if a Korean were able to devise a weapon which eliminated and killed off every woman and child in Japan or if a Korean were responsible for causing a natural disaster which wiped off every innocent Japanese citizen living presently, then you would find Koreans finally achieving normal human level confidence. Upon satiating their thirst for revenge and retribution, you might see Koreans finally letting go of their lunacy and ultranationalism. However, keep in mind that this would be contigent upon a Korean being responsible for destruction and death in Japan. If a non-Korean nation were to kill and destroy every Japanese citizen, the Koreans would be very happy but they would definitely continue their hatefest even if there were no Japanese people left on earth. Why? Because, they really wouldn’t have quenched their thirst for revenge 100% since Korea was not directly responsible for destroying or beating Japan.

    Bringing WWII criminals to justice? Who cares! Besides, its been done already but obviously, no Korean really cares about this! Compensate each comfort woman? Yeah, might be nice…but we really don’t care about that! Bomb Japan and cause suffering to all presently living Japanese even if they had nothing to do with the colonial period? Now, you’re talking! That is what we want!

    This type of thinking really speaks volumes about the national character of Korea. I am not really sure if there is another country which craves and thrives on the hatred of another nation as its major source of unifying strength and joy.

    I guess that is why Korea implements so much brainwashing of its populace using lies and propaganda when it comes to Japan so that they feel justfied in their hate. Also, as anyone can see, Koreans go to almost maniacal lengths to proselytize and forcibly ram their views down the throats of foreigners in the western world so that they can feel justified in reveling in their hatred of all things Japanese. The greatest fear for Korea is the international community finding out the truth of what motivates Korea to flood their lies and propaganda all over the internet. If this were to happen, the world would regard Korea with disdain for its disgustingly offensive policy of fueling unnecessary hatred. Korea would lose any sense of justification or moral righteousness in the eyes of the international community and would thus receive rebuke/censure for their unjustfied behavior. Thus, Koreans could not freely enjoy the very thing which is their number one joy in life…hating all things Japanese and spreading their hatred to the next generation.

    So actually, Koreans really would rather not see the Japanese emperor getting down on his knees to apologize. They really hate seeing Japanese people who are apologists for Korea. Why? Because these people would make it more difficult for Koreans to freely hate Japan without censure from the international community. These people pose a threat to the lifelong goal of every Korean which is to be able to carry out acts of revenge and hatred for any Japanes person living today. Koreans would rather have these Japanese people silenced.

    It’s obvious that the Korean government is doing its best to keep its people misinformed so that they can continue to feel justified in their national pastime of fueling vilified hatred towards Japan. Just look at how so few Koreans are aware of the truth about Japan’s post WWII apologies or the actual content of Japanese school textbooks. I cannot even count how many Koreans I have seen who are astonished and shocked after having actually lived in Japan or read a Japanese school textbook when they discover that so much of the anti-Japanese propaganda force-fed to them by the Korean government while growing up is completely based on lies and distortions.

  23. comment number 23 by: ponta

    Mr Daniel Barenblatt
    Where is your answer to my questions which you promised to anser?

    You have just read a troll’s comment like WJK, but have you missed the quesionts I posed that should clarify your allegation?

  24. comment number 24 by: James

    Mr. Barenblatt, if you come back and read the comments here, I hope you can address this concern I have:

    I’m confused by the answer you gave to the question about whether you were paid for your efforts in this case. Could you please clarify here or on your website?

  25. comment number 25 by: Travolta

    No offense to Mr. Barenblatt but I think he may have misjudged the tone of the comments on this site. I can understand it came across as being very hostile but I think it is the nature of such sites with such controversial issues being discussed that people write in a highly passionate/aggressive manner. In any case, whether the tone was deliberately aggressive or not I think there are people here who gave him the benefit of the doubt in regards to the way he was quoted (misquoted) by Korean reporters. Whether we agree with his opinions or not, his response clearly states that he was misquoted by the Korean media. These reporters obviously did this to destroy Ms. Watkins character by legitimizing their claims against her using a 3rd party (Mr. Barenblatt).

    This draws me to the conclusion that the Korean media has used Mr. Barenblatt to pursue the anti-Japan agenda is so clearly has. It is a shame Mr. Barenblatt felt he was being attacked and it is a shame people here attacked him. The real story here though is that there is yet more clear evidence that the Korean media uses blatant lies to promote the hatred of Japan and the Japanese. It is yet more evidence that at least the news sources that ran the misquotes have no standards whatsoever and neither do the reporters who wrote the articles. This is truly sad because when it comes to issues between Korea and Japan which are not big enough to warrant less biased international coverage, it is impossible to trust what the Korean media produces. The saddest part of it is that millions of Koreans read those articles in Korean and believed the misquotes and never had a chance to read the truth and will go away with the impression that Mr. Barenblatt did say those things. It is sad because it helps keep the hatred of Japan alive in the masses. If reporters write what people want to read, it says some pretty awful things about how the general public in Korea feels about Japan. Of course I would like to point out that not all Koreans are anti-Japanese, I myself have met many Koreans who are perfectly non-racist and respect Japan as a neighbour.

    I hope Mr. Barenblatt takes measures against the news outlets that produced those misquotes but I will understand if he doesn’t. I imagine the past few weeks have been hectic enough.

    I want to thank Mr. Barenblatt for responding here as best he could (apart from the interesting question in regards to him being paid for his efforts which I think goes unanswered). I wish Mr. Barenblatt the best of luck with his future work and hope his work helps promote truth and reason.


  26. […] Daniel Barenblatt, author of “A Plague Upon Humanity,” has responded to questions, asked on Occidentalism, concerning quotes attributed to him in the Korean media (see here, here & here), which was reporting on a press conference given by Yoko Kawashima Watkins, author of “So Far from the Bamboo Grove.” Mr. Barenblatt also comments on the way the story has been reported here at Occidentalism. Anyway, without further comment, as promised by me, here is Mr. Barenblatt’s unedited response to the questions. Okay, this is probably going to be my last post on this website. Since I began posting here, people have warned me not to have anything to do with this “trash” site due to its bigoted, dishonest and disreputable nature, e.g. its ultra-creepy, repeated denial/downplaying of comfort women being sex slaves of Imperial Japan (vs.the claims here of comfort women being just “regular prostitutes” and sold into it by other Koreans), and its denial/downplaying of other war crimes of Imperial Japan such as Unit 731, the Nanking Massacre etc. And also of course, its obvious and peculiar continual Korean-bashing, a kind of niche-hatred specialty that is played up here, amongst the more general attacks and ridiculing of non-white immigrants that are to be found with a quick look about. […]

  27. comment number 27 by: Gerry-Bevers

    Travolta,

    Your above comment is very good, so I wish you would repost it to the comments section of the new post I have put up concerning Mr. Barenblatt’s response.

  28. comment number 28 by: Matt

    Okay, this is probably going to be my last post on this website. Since I began posting here, people have warned me not to have anything to do with this “trash” site due to its bigoted, dishonest and disreputable nature, e.g. its ultra-creepy, repeated denial/downplaying of comfort women being sex slaves of Imperial Japan (vs.the claims here of comfort women being just “regular prostitutes” and sold into it by other Koreans), and its denial/downplaying of other war crimes of Imperial Japan such as Unit 731, the Nanking Massacre etc. And also of course, its obvious and peculiar continual Korean-bashing, a kind of niche-hatred specialty that is played up here, amongst the more general attacks and ridiculing of non-white immigrants that are to be found with a quick look about.

    This is not a site with which one would want to be associated: not me, nor the Korean news outlets, nor Ms. Yoko Watkins; nor anyone who wishes to avoid the offensive, ethnically prejudiced and politically wacked-out. And I apologize to all Korean people, Japanese people, Chinese people, Americans, Australians, British etc. for perhaps my giving the impression of giving this site any credence or credibility by posting anything here. Please understand that I only came here in the first place because it had the only English translation of a South Korean news article in which I was misquoted to an extreme degree, and I had evaluate things so as to request corrections and straighten the matter out. And then to compare this site’s translation with other translations that I could obtain. And needless to say, the web authors, and the usual nest of anti-Korean comment roll posters here, have been rude and venomous to me from the get-go, and continuing on that way throughout (see other comment rolls or their comments to follow below after this post).

    This site also posted the web’s only English translation of another, second Korean language article in which I was again misquoted, with fabricated quotes, and misrepresented. So I had to look into this as well and issue another call for corrections from the Korean news outlet responsible. And one good lesson from this is that the old Tower of Babel problem is still so much with us; that we should have translations of news sources more readily available, between whatever languages, so that the persons quoted can check for accuracy in a timely manner, and ideally be able to do this by going to websites that are both reputable and objective.

    Mr Barenblatt, I will ignore the insulting things you have written about Occidentalism as I will assume that you are feeling under pressure. Remember, ad hominem attacks are the last refuge of the intellectually defeated.

    I would like to ask you a question. Since you are supposedly an expert on the Unit 731, the Nanking Massacre, comfort women etc (those things that you have taken us to task for, even though we have never written about Nanking or unit 731), why are you unable to read the news stories about you? Surely an expert would need to examine primary sources in their original language.

    Since you are claiming expertise in these matters, surely you would want to be proficient at Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Hell, I am just an average Joe in Sydney but I can definitely read newspaper articles in Korean and Japanese, and in a pinch I can do it in Chinese too.

    Anyway, I would like to repeat my other question for your consideration –

    *Did you receive any monetary remuneration, transportation or accomodation expenses from the Korean-American parents group or other groups or organisations to attend the press conference?

  29. comment number 29 by: kjeff

    Matt,

    Did you receive any monetary renumeration, blog creation and/or maintenance expenses from any Japanese individuals, organizations, and/or government to promote and foster anti-Korean sentiments?

    As to be fair to your, as it stands, baseless accusation. Yes, you called it aquestion.

  30. comment number 30 by: ponta

    Travolta
    I agree that Korean media is not reliable.
    But I have a different perspective on this issue.
    Korean ultra-nationalist tried to degrade her book by taking up a irrelevant allegation about her father without basis. That is for sure. But that is not the point here. The point is Daniel Barenblatt, an expert on the unit 731, was asked to evaluate the book by Korean ultra nationalist. And he actually evaluated the book. That is okay, that is his opinion. But he asked her a question about her father in the press conference, and publicized the comment that “There are some odd omissions and apparent contradictions that have come up as to her father’s identity”.
    It is clear that however Korea media misquoted him, whatever his intention, objectively he played an important role in degrading Ms Watkins’ book by taking up her father job.

    He must know what it means to be alleged as a leading member of the unit 731, because he is said be an expert.
    At first he said he was calling for “an immediate retraction and correction from whoever is responsible”. But he is not protesting against the media, which should be
    easy. All he has to do is to get a contact with Korean person who asked him to evaluate her book.
    He left the comment on Occidenalism, saying this site look foolish etc. Again this is not
    relevant to the issue. (By the way, keep in mind this blog has never posted the issue of the comfort women directly, it only appeared in the comment section. Neither has this blog dealt Nanjing Massacre in general, it was just about the photo about it.)
    He picked up the Matt’s identity, again this is not relevant to the issue, but note this is structurally the same as what Korean ultra-nationalist and Mr Daniel Barenblatt did to Ms Watkins.
    I still hope he publicise an apology for his role he (unintentionally?) played in this insane project.

  31. comment number 31 by: Matt

    Matt,

    Did you receive any monetary renumeration, blog creation and/or maintenance expenses from any Japanese individuals, organizations, and/or government to promote and foster anti-Korean sentiments?

    As to be fair to your, as it stands, baseless accusation. Yes, you called it aquestion.

    Hi kjeff, the answer is no. The money comes right out of my pocket.

  32. comment number 32 by: chul_soo

    Matt
    Just out of curiosity, how much does one need to maintain blog like this?

  33. comment number 33 by: Matt

    Matt
    Just out of curiosity, how much does one need to maintain blog like this?

    A little over a hundred dollars a year.

  34. comment number 34 by: kjeff

    Matt,

    Thanks for the answer. From a blog illiterate, that’s cheap.

  35. comment number 35 by: kteen

    wiesunja,
    Actually, the Korean government announced late last year saying that they had succeeded in developing cruise missiles(1000km range, capable of striking almost all of japan and major chinese cities). And yet nobody talks about actually bombing tokyo with it(except for some extreme nationalists). So please cut this ‘Koreans-will-act-the-same-way-no-matter-how-well-the-japanese-compensate’crap.

  36. comment number 36 by: James

    Sorry to post in such an old thread, but I found this on YouTube today:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLyu5gKi5jc

    Any idea what it says?

  37. comment number 37 by: General Tiger

    James:
    Pretty much a videon saying that the Japanese committed more crimes(first third), saying that the book pretty much made the Korean victoms the attackers (second third) while taking away the things that happened during the occupation period, and that we(Koreans) must stop this “propaganda” from “corrupting” Americans.(last third)
    My basic opinion: Needs less emotions, and moe conciseness while recongnizing that there were crimes commited after Restoration Day, although the book focused only on the aftermath rather then the colonial period.

  38. comment number 38 by: General Tiger

    PS: How do you edit typos…. I hate my own typos.